Supreme Court hears arguments on death penalty law | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Supreme Court hears arguments on death penalty law

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 9:29 AM

Arguments were held by the Arkansas Supreme Court this morning on the lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking more information about drugs used in executions.

One short take: The attorney general of Arkansas, in the person of Solicitor General Lee Rudofsky, said  the constitutional requirement for disclosure of public expenditures uses the phrase  "from time to time." What does that mean? Whenever the legislature in its wisdom chooses to disclose it, maybe never. And there's no recourse in court for non-disclosure, only at the ballot box. Wow.

The Death Row inmates argue that the drugs constitute cruel punishment, prohibited under the state Constitution.

Justice Rhonda Wood continues to question enforcing the plain language of the Constitution against legislative preferences to the contrary. Surprise. Justice Courtney Goodson seems dubious of holding the state to a past contract to reveal information about lethal drugs.

The state stood up for the purity of drugs on hand and the inmates' attorney, John Williams, didn't object to the affidavit attesting to this. I was surprised no one noted that the current supply of drugs is just about to be out of date and the state must find other suppliers.

The state also argues that drugs proposed for use in Arkansas have been upheld in numerous other courts. The argument is about midlazolam, used as anesthesia.

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